Not Your Average Library

All images courtesy of the Free Women's Library.

All images courtesy of the Free Women's Library.

Reading can be an expensive hobby, which is why I have always had a good relationship with my local library. The Free Women’s Library is a mobile library, headed by Ola Ronke, that encompasses the love of reading with women’s empowerment and cultural enrichment. The premise is simple, bring a book and exchange it for anyone you want, the only requirement is that the books are all written by black women. All genres are represented and there are books for children and teens included in the collection. It is an impressive amalgamation of works that fully display the diversity of black women.

All races, genders and ages are welcome to trade or donate books at the library’s monthly pop-ups. Ola sets up her collection of over 400 books in various neighborhoods of Brooklyn and community members flock. She had the opportunity to run the library at this year’s Afropunk festival, as well as take it Philadelphia last month. The library is popular and loved. As I was browsing I met two magical black girls who had been coming to the monthly pop-ups for seven months straight.

The Free Women’s Library is a gem and I was lucky enough to make it to this month’s set up in Brooklyn where I traded in five books. The library, personally, made me ecstatic – its mission and the concept that I could get my hands on books without a due date. I picked up two books by Zadie Smith, who’s work I have been wanting to read; the classic, a Raisin in the Sun; Terry McMillan’s Disappearing Acts, at the recommendation of one of the ladies I met; and Growing up Girl, an anthology. If you want to follow more of my reading feel free to add me on Goodreads, another gem for book lovers.

If you’re in NYC you can check out the Free Women’s Library in person and make a trade. To find out more you can like their Facebook page or visit the blog